Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another Good One On Me ...

I was gonna write a post about this obnoxious, pretentious, know-it-all fantasy writer I met at Orycon, but instead, let me tell you about my camera ...

We zipped over to the coast with the in-laws, who really wanted to go, pouring rain and all. Had a fine ole time, packed up, came home.

We emptied the camper, and I drove it back to where we store it, which is about five miles from my house. Dumped the tanks, put some air in the tires, parked it, came home.

I got here, took off my jacket, and realized I'd left my camera in the camper.


So I headed back to he storage site. Got behind Sister Mary Margaret in her slowmobile. Going twelve miles an hour in a thirty-five zone.


There are seven traffic signals between my house and the storage place. Caught every one of them red. The loons were on the road in force, none of them in any hurry to get anywhere, save the ones who ran the lights and nearly got me.

Halfway there, I began to steam from the ears.

Finally, finally -- I got there. And guess what ... ?

I had left my camper keys in my jacket pocket.

At home.

I could have blown a gasket, I felt the rage rising ... but what happened instead was that I started laughing. It was nobody's fault but mine and being pissed off wouldn't have helped anything.

Ho! Another good one on me ...

So I drove home, collected my keys, went back, got the camera, and drove home again. It was a cold, crisp, sunshiny autumn day, and I put the top down and let people wonder why I was grinning ...


Bobbe Edmonds said...

Great picture! I'm bummed I missed the Con, try as I might, I couldn't swing the time for it. Grrrr....

So, uh, why not tell us a bit about this fantasy writer anyway?

Hope Dianne is doing better, by the way. Please tell her I said hi & Caren LOVES the grits!

Michael B. said...

That's what I call a self induced case of SNAFU....I have those on a weekly basis...my dad calls them the EPIC BRAIN FART!

Steve Perry said...

Oh, well, without getting too specific, the writer was one of those one-path-up-the-mountain guys, he was walking it, and the rest of us in the room apparently weren't.

Perhaps I was mistaken, but I caught a definite odor of arrogance wafting about this fellow. (Different from my own, of course.)

I didn't know him, but after two minutes on a panel with him, I realized I didn't want to, so no big loss.

I discounted the costume because it was a science fiction convention and folks do sometimes dress the part -- he looked kind of like a cross between an 1880's riverboat gambler and a goucho. Then when I got home and looked him up on the net, I found that he dressed that way when he wasn't at a con.

On a panel, in a room large enough to hold a couple hundred people, he couldn't be bothered to use the microphone, which would have been fine, 'cause I didn't use it, either, but he didn't project enough to reach the cheap seats. In fact, he spoke as if he were talking to somebody across a small table. When people in the back asked him to speak up, you could see a flash of anger on his face -- Hey, I'm a *writer!* Who are *you* to make such requests? He leaned toward the mike, said a few words, then leaned back and continued on as before.

A question was asked about writing in collaboration. No, he said, you can't do it that way.

Well, yes, I cut in, you can.

No, it only works if you do it this way.

Somewhat sharper, I said, That's how it works for *you.* You aren't everybody.

Didn't faze him.

Supposed to be some kind of martial arts expert, too -- somebody came up after the panel and asked him a question about MA, and he gave them the one-path-I'm-on-it-and-the-
authority speech about that, too ...

Later, I found out that he had co-written but half a dozen books, none of his own, and after a tad more research, I had a pretty good idea of who was carrying the heavy freight in that collaboration.

When you are insecure, you tend to pump up your credits and your knowledge.

I used to be a pretty good know-it-all myself, and I had a sudden flicker of "There but for the grace of God go I." But, upon reflection, I bagged that thought. I would never have dressed that that to go out in public ...

Irene said...

It's always risky to tout your own expertise to much when there are others in the same room with more expertise, experience, and reputation. That requires a particular form of arrogance and/or idiocy.

Steve Perry said...

Well, the real experts -- I was on a panel with Ursula -- will joust with you in fun. Ursula has a wicked sense of humor, and you have to work to keep up with her, but she's never mean-spirited when she spars.

I mean, how much fun is it to argue in public with Ursula Le Guin, who can write circles around me?

A lot.

Dan Moran said...

I'd have a hard time talking while sitting next to Ursula Le Guin. I don't intimidate easy, but that would do it.

Dan Moran said...

btw, that's a really great photo. Did you take that?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Steve Perry said...

Thanks, Dan. Yeah, my eight-year-old nephew on the beach at Lincoln City -- rainbow in the b.g.

Steve Perry said...

And Ursula is a sweetheart. Doesn't do many signings or conventions, but now and then, somebody manages to convince her to show up. Always a delight to listen to her -- she'll take a stance opposite yours and keep you hopping, but after you're finished, she smiles, and you know it's all in good fun.

Never seen her take herself too seriously, and she doesn't come across as pontificating.

Always nice when an icon behaves like a mensch.

Dan Moran said...

Yeah -- one of the few writers I haven't met who I'd really like to. There aren't many people I think I'd have gone fanboy on meeting -- for example, Larry McMurtry, who wrote my favorite novel, Lonesome Dove, has also written a bunch of stuff that's not nearly as intimidating, and I think I could have a conversation with him without feeling completely unworty to contribute to the conversation. Others who've written really superb works -- Benford's Great Sky Woman, Clarke's Childhood's End, Gregory Mcdonald's Confess Fletch ... as great as all those works are, I think I could talk to those people without tripping over my own tongue. (Benford I had breakfast with once, so I'm sure I can, in that case.)

I suspect meeting John D. MacDonald might have gotten me tongue-tied. Or Carl Sagan (though I did get a really nice note from him once saying he'd enjoyed the Armageddon Blues, after I wrote him saying I'd really enjoyed Contact.) Or Le Guin. Short of "There's nothing you've ever written I'd have the temerity to disagree with you about," I'm not sure what I could say to her.